Make a Difference by Supporting a Charity
Last Friday I was at the annual quiz night for a local charity Oakleaf, who provides vocational training for those suffering from mental health issues, helping people get back into work.
We came 4th out of 19 teams, so not too shabby, and we helped raise an impressive £6,405, whilst having some fun.
Today’s workforce is looking for meaning or purpose in their work, and supporting a charity is potentially one way to contribute to this. Giving back creates a positive mentality. It also fosters pride and loyalty.
Getting involved in social and charity initiatives doesn’t have to be all consuming; . you can donate time and involvement, money, or sharing your specialist skills pro bono or to raise funds.
If you don’t already support a charity, here are some of my thoughts on what to consider.
Choosing a charity
Identify a charity that you would like to do something for as a team.
It’s important your chosen charity reflects your values, as well as something that resonates with your team, and hopefully your customers too. It might be a charity with special meaning for one or more of your team.
Get the team together, have everyone pitch a cause and pick the one you want to support. It’s important that you make it personal, and that you make it count.
Set your own Charity Challenge
Consider what you’re willing to commit to doing for that charity. Put it on the agenda for your team meeting and discuss the kind of support you could give, and for how long.
How much time, money or resources are you willing to invest; will any involvement be during normal working hours; how long will you continue your involvement (you may consider changing the charity of the year or every 2 years).
It might simply be a case of raising money, through traditional activities such as a sponsored event, a ‘bring-and buy’ sale or even just ‘tin-rattling’ around the office. If you’re inclined to be more creative, then look for more imaginative way to raise money.
You may have skills that are scarce in the charitable organisation, but easy for you to apply. For example, updating technology, coaching people, providing work experience opportunities or coaching staff members or project planning.
Perhaps you could elect a team member to contact your chosen charity and ask what kind of help would be appreciated.
Do Something as a Team
Volunteering and fundraising events are a good way to get everyone working together as a team, potentially, alongside other departments.
It might be challenging to get everyone together if you are a 24-hour/7 day operation, but even if you cannot get all your team or all your direct reports together, see if collectively you can involve everyone in some way.
You may decide you’re only going to commit to one or two activities a year, such as Red Nose Day, Children in Need, Macmillan coffee morning.
Remember, that this is about involving your team in something meaningful, so if there isn’t anyone in your team who wants to take up any of the tasks involved or has the time, there is little value to the team in you as team leader taking this on alone.
I don’t know what will work for you and your team, that’s up to you, and no one should be forced to get involved.
PR for your charity
For many smaller charities, one of their biggest challenges is awareness. You might still be pleasantly surprised how easy it can be to gain publicity in your local newspapers or on local radio.
Write a press release, concentrating on topical relevance of what you’re doing. Email or phone your local newspapers and radio stations. Contact specialist publications relevant to your organisation or the charity your challenge will benefit.
This activity could easily be done by just one person, so consider whether you want to encourage a number of people to get involved or if you’re happy for one person to volunteer.
Proud personal moments
Recognise and celebrate with your team members those who are involved in other charities outside work, particularly when they have made a significant contribution to their charity such as volunteering, taking part in a sponsored event or fundraising.
Keep your charity appeal alive with a regular review, updates or progress charts. This doesn’t have to be done by you; ask for volunteers in your team.
Celebrate your wins and give recognition for achievements along the way.
Share your activities with your customers and suppliers too; it all helps raise the profile for your charity and demonstrates your values to your customers.
Involve your suppliers too, they may even be prepared to sponsor your activities or donate prizes or gifts.
I’m a great believer in having some fun at work. Allowing people to have fun at work all helps with employee engagement, productivity and staff retention, all of which has a positive knock-on effect on your customers’ experience.
Doing something for charity is a great opportunity to do something fun but with a serious intent.
Going it alone
Even if you have no team, or you have little buy-in from the team for supporting a charity, there are plenty of ways you can still contribute to a good cause. For example, I donate to an organisation called B1G1, which allows me to make small contributions to any one of a wide number of projects every time I work with a client, all of which add up over time. Find out more about B1G1 here: http://bit.ly/exploreb1g1
If you only do one thing…
What difference could you make? Find a cause that resonates with your team and involve them in that cause.